If Trump colluded with the Russians to influence the election, it would be a very bad thing. If said collusion provides a path to remove him from office, then that would be a good thing. That both of those points are true, however, does not detract from the equally true fact that liberal obsession with the Russia issue is a symptom of a much deeper blindness about the reality of our political situation.
Unless the Russians literally hacked into voting machines — which no one is alleging as far as I can tell — then their interference ultimately depends on finding a receptive audience. Putin did not and could not create such an audience. That is a completely home-grown phenomenon. Assuming the Russia story is true, it is undoubtedly bad that Putin was able to manipulate the American public with transparent bullshit, to the point that a vulgar incompetent bigot who has never held a job in his life could be appointed to the most powerful office on earth. No question, we’re dealing with something bad that we should be upset about. And yet surely the very fact that such a scheme was possible in the first place is the real problem. It points to a deep rot in American public discourse, of which anyone who has ever visited home for Thanksgiving was surely aware.
The Democratic leadership, it appears, has never visited home for Thanksgiving. The very fact that they could nominate Hillary Clinton in an election where literally everything the Democrats have achieved in the last eight years depended on keeping a Democrat in the White House shows how profoundly naive they are. One of the most notable symptoms of the rot in American political discourse is that approximately 40% of our fellow citizens will believe anything about Hillary Clinton, as long as it’s bad. They don’t even need to be directly presented with the evil deeds — they can piece them together from any available evidence, such as her campaign manager’s suggestion, leaked as part of the nefarious e-mails, that they go to a particular pizza parlor. This led to a viral story about how Hillary Clinton was running a child molestation club. The fact that this kind of obvious bullshit was not reported to oblivion on social media, the fact that reasonable conservatives did not shame their friends and relatives for sharing such a shameful thing, is a symptom of the rot.
It’s not fair to Hillary Clinton, but I don’t care about Hillary Clinton’s personal ambitions. The country was not worth risking for the sake of eking out a historic win for her. The hatred of 40% of Americans for Hillary Clinton is a fact, as is the fact that many of those Americans are college-educated suburban American women. I know one of those women: my own mother, who could never bring herself to vote for someone so vile as Hillary Clinton and who didn’t vote for Trump so much as against that woman. Alienating the Democratic base for the sake of reaching those women was delusional, just as assuming that once the Russia connections are revealed, surely Trump supporters will realize they were scammed is delusional. There was already ample evidence that Trump was running a scam. There has seldom been as much evidence for anything in all of human history. Is adding Russia into the mix going to tip the balance? We already know that many Trump supporters are all too eager to embrace Russia as an ally precisely because Trump is favorable to Putin — what do you expect to happen when they learn that Russia is helping their idol?
We may be past the point of persuasion here, at least when it comes to Trump’s person. There may still be room for persuasion when it comes to things that affect people’s lives — like health care, for instance, where there has been a groundswell of revulsion against the Republicans’ sick policy proposals. Against all odds, it would appear that the Rube Goldberg machine we know as Obamacare managed to convince many of our fellow citizens that guaranteeing access to health care is a good idea, a fact to which Trump testified through his transparent lies about replacing it with something “even better.”
We know there is only one possible policy outcome that is significantly better than Obamacare: single-payer healthcare. So naturally, the Democrats are digging in their heels and refusing to do anything that could change the brilliant policy that arguably cost them the House and, via the redistricting that Republicans controlled after 2010, all hope for the future. Obamacare is the thing that the Democrats did, and we need to respect that by doing nothing further. And this is vintage Hillary Clinton, who all but told us outright that she wasn’t going to patronize us by hinting that anything could ever get better.
America is already great! Can you blame the unwashed red-state masses who read the campaign as a declaration that the people they hate wanted them to hate Trump more? Yes, yes, they should have known. They should have woken up and stood in line and defied their communities and churches so that they could vote for the party of nothing, headed up by the person they’ve been trained to hate for the last twenty years. How could they have been so stupid? The only answer is to keep offering them nothing and telling them they’re stupid, until they finally come around.
4 thoughts on “Russia and Rot”
Fwiw, progressive democrats in california are putting forward single payer legislation. Needless to say the moderate dems are just as concerned as the republicans. The question is always “how are we gonna pay for that?” Prog dems always answer with their fall back “healthcare is a human right” and are convincingly written off as unrealistic and idealist. For once i would like to hear a succint answer to the effect of “we will pay for it bay raising taxes on the rich.”
Perhaps most dems are just inherently lazy. Pinning their hopes on a longshot nytimes revelation to force impeachment. I wish they would offer up a competing alternative instead.
OTOH – there are countries which run single payer and still spend less public money on health than the US (as a percentage of GDP). Obviously a large amount of this is down to the ability to bargain down the costs of medicines and so forth – but in theory anyway the US could spend the same and get completely different outcomes.
I do agree that it’s a problem when progressive can’t mention raising taxes though. Over here in the UK Corbyn’s call to raise taxes on people earning over £80K has been greeted by the right of his own party wheeling out variants on trickle down and the laffler curve.
I forgot to mention that your post is spot on adam. I cannot think of a better word than rot. This whole episode in american political life reminds me of nothing more than those disgusting clickbait ads that you see at the end of breitbart stories.
Keep posting. Your stuff is more interesting than anything in the new yorker.
As far as I know most countries with single payer spend less or just a little more public money on health than the US, it statistics like this one (2011) are about right: http://images.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2014-09/infografik-gesundheit/infografik-gesundheit-540×304.jpg
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